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José Rizal

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José RizalJosé Rizal (1861-96)

Filipino physician, novelist, and nationalist martyr. The son of a wealthy Filipino planter, Rizal was born in Calamba, in Laguna Province. He studied medicine in Madrid and Paris and later in Germany, where he published his novel The Lost Eden (1886; trans. 1961), attacking the evils of Spanish rule in the Philippines. This and a second novel, The Subversive (1891; trans. 1962), won him wide recognition and helped spark a reform movement in the Philippines. Rizal was critical of the power exercised by Roman Catholic religious orders in his country and demanded political rights and equality for Filipinos, but he stopped short of advocating independence.

After practicing medicine for a time in Hong Kong, he returned to Manila in 1892. The authorities there exiled him to the island of Mindanao. When a Filipino revolt broke out in 1896, Rizal was accused of having inspired it. Convicted of sedition by a military court, he was executed in Manila. He is honored as a national hero in the Philippines.

Andrés Bonifacio

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Andrés BonifacioAndrés Bonifacio y de Castro (November 30, 1863 – May 10, 1897)

Son of Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro. Andrés Bonifacio, a self-educated man of the urban working class, organized a secret society called Katipunan, short for Kataastaasan Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (The Highest and Most Respectable Society of the Sons of the People).

The Katipunan, which advocated revolution rather than reform, gained a popular base of support, with membership concentrated among urban and rural workers. Spanish officials discovered, through an informant parish priest, the existence of the Katipunan in August 1896. Bonifacio, realizing the Katipunan could no longer hide its activity, proclaimed the beginning of the revolution. Katipunan members first attacked Spanish military installations, and then the insurrection spread throughout the provinces of central Luzon.